Serves 10–12

Country Style - - COUNTRY COOK -

This is my favourite kind of cake — sim­ple, hum­ble and spe­cial all at the same time. It is one from my child­hood, recre­ated from frag­ments of sense memories, an old but­ter cake recipe from Mum and from how it looked in the tin. I may have this wrong, but I think my sis­ters hated it and I loved it, or at least I told ev­ery­one I did, and there­fore fan­cied my­self as quite so­phis­ti­cated! It is made by hand creaming the but­ter and sugar — I can’t ex­plain why it should make such a dif­fer­ence, but ev­ery time I take the time to make a cake this way I re­mind my­self why it is ut­terly worth the ef­fort. Start this cake a few hours be­fore you’d like to eat it and en­sure all the in­gre­di­ents are at room tem­per­a­ture. soft­ened but­ter, to grease 250g un­salted buttt­ter, at room tem­per­a­ture 1 cup raw caster sugar 1 tea­spoon car­away seeds or to taste 4 ex­tra-large eggs, at room tem­per­a­ture 1⅔ cups self-rais­ing flflour, sifted pinch of fifinely ground sea salt ½ cup milk Pre­heat oven to 175°C. Grease a 24cm square cake pan with soft­ened but­ter. Line base and sides with bak­ing paper, then grease with but­ter. (This will give the cake a lovely caramelised crust.) Place but­ter and sugar in a heavy mix­ing bowl. Us­ing a but­ter knife, cut but­ter into tiny pieces, then set aside un­til but­ter is soft. (I re­mem­ber this stage tak­ing hours. Mum would leave the bowl and knife on the kitchen counter in the weak Blue Moun­tains sun or next to the wood stove, and mix and cut a lit­tle more ev­ery time she passed.) Add car­away seeds. Us­ing a large wooden spoon, beat but­ter and sugar thor­oughly un­til very pale and flfluffffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beat­ing thor­oughly af­ter each ad­di­tion. Sift flflour and salt over but­ter mix­ture and mix gen­tly but thor­oughly un­til com­bined. Grad­u­ally add milk and gen­tly mix un­til com­bined. Spoon into pre­pared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 min­utes or un­til golden brown and a skewer in­serted into cen­tre of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 min­utes, then turn onto a wire rack. Serve just as it is so as not to lose flflavour and fra­grance of car­away, and taste and crunchy tex­ture of crust.

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